Alert 2010-8| July 7, 2010
Mortgage Principal Reduction Program: Misrepresentation of Involvement of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in Mortgage Elimination Scam
Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks; All State Banking Authorities; Chairman, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Deputy Comptrollers (districts); Assistant Deputy Comptrollers; District Counsel; and All Examining Personnel
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has been notified that a group using the names of “Mortgage Principal Reduction Program” and “Bankers Acceptance Program” has misrepresented that the OCC has “scrutinized and monitored the activities of the Mortgage Principal Reduction Program.” The OCC has no knowledge of this entity, nor does the OCC have any knowledge of its alleged principal, Mr. Alan Tikal. Mr. Tikal is not a registered private banker with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as is alleged on the group’s Website: www.mprprogram.com . The telephone number posted on the group’s Website is a private cellular telephone number.
The program is directed towards homeowners facing mortgage foreclosure, and the Website indicates that this group can eliminate a large portion of a homeowner’s mortgage debt. Based upon the information provided, this does not appear to be a legitimate program. Any group, individual, or company that states that they can eliminate a person’s debt for a fee and without providing sufficient funds to pay off the debt in its entirety is perpetrating a fraud. This is commonly referred to an “up-front-fee scam.” While the Website indicates that no fee is required at the onset, it does state that the fee charged by this group is 25 percent of the existing outstanding mortgage amount.
Consumers who are having difficulty making their mortgage payments or who receive an alleged foreclosure notice should contact their lender immediately. For further legitimate assistance, contact:
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at (800) 569-4287 or (877) 483-1515, or go to www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hccprof14.cfm.
- HOPE NOW—Call (888) 995-HOPE, the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline to reach a nonprofit, HUD-approved counselor through HOPE NOW, a cooperative effort of mortgage counselors and lenders to assist homeowners.
- NeighborWorks America through their Website at www.nw.org/network/home.asp
Consumers who receive mortgage modification solicitations should research the license status of the company making the solicitation prior to making contact or providing personal information to them. If you believe that the company is acting in an unethical or questionable fashion, please report the company to the Federal Trade Commission, your state’s finance department, or state and local consumer protection agencies. If the question involves a national bank, and the question cannot be resolved with the bank directly, contact the OCC’s Customer Assistance Group by calling (800) 613-6743 or by visiting www.HelpWithMyBank.gov.
Any information regarding the subject of this or any other alert that you wish to bring to the attention of the OCC may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The OCC offers the following consumer resources:
- Tips to Avoid Mortgage Modification and Foreclosure Scams: www.occ.gov/news-issuances/consumer-advisories/2009/consumer-advisory-2009-1.html.
- Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams: http://www.occ.gov/news-issuances/psa/beware-of-foreclosure-prevention-scams-feature.pdf.
Richard C. Stearns
Director for Enforcement & Compliance